Transnational Civil Society or Marketplace? An Empirical Examination of Inter-NGO Collaboration in Post-Conflict Environments
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractDo NGOs tend to operate more like activists in a transnational civil society or more like competitors in a transnational marketplace? This dissertation represents a preliminary attempt to understand the extent to which NGOs interact with one another through transnational networks in their efforts to assist and protect internally displaced persons (IDPs) in conflict and post-conflict settings. So far, the concept of the transnational advocacy network has served largely as a metaphor. This dissertation represents a significant contribution to our understanding of transnational relations by offering the first empirical examination of the structure of these networks. By applying the theoretical framework offered by resource dependence theory to the question of NGO interaction, this dissertation offers an alternative view of transnational relations. I first present original network data representing the transnational advocacy network of NGOs along with the state agencies, UN agencies and other organizations involved in providing assistance and protection to IDPs in Azerbaijan in 2010. These data will demonstrate that (1) transnational actors do network around specific campaigns, but (2) this does not necessarily mean that NGOs are collaborating with one another or acting as the central actors in these networks. I next analyze original network data modeling the extent to which inter-NGO collaboration exists among NGOs responding to 29 separate cases of protracted internal displacement. These data will provide support for my argument that NGOs tend to follow a strategy of resource dependence rather than resource mobilization in their strategic networking behaviors. Finally, I will examine the variation in the cohesion among these 29 potential inter-NGO networks and suggest conditions which underlie greater inter-NGO collaboration. I find that only in cases of a real or perceived threat to the NGO-sector as a whole, specifically a legal environment that is not conducive to the functioning of the nonprofit sector, is extensive inter-NGO collaboration likely to occur. The data suggest that a hostile legal environment is necessary and sufficient for extensive inter-NGO collaboration.
Degree ProgramGraduate College